From the Director: A New Leadership Institute, Hopi Raincatchers, and Mid-Year Updates
The first half of 2016 has seen Borderlands Restoration stabilize parts of our existing infrastructure and staffing needs, expand the regional restoration network, and begin to grow in new directions as an organization. The Borderlands Earth Care Youth Institute is going strong in Patagonia and Douglas simultaneously, and we will begin outreach to other communities (mainly Nogales, AZ) in the latter half of 2016 and 2017. The Bureau of Land Management continues to support native plant research and development Madrean Archipelago Plant Propagation Center.
Our staff continues to grow with the addition of an Operations Manager, Shani Stewart, to our administrative team. We also welcome two ACE interns to work with us in our seed collection and native plant materials development program. If you haven’t met the fantastic staff we have working on these projects and others, skip on over to our Our Team page to get acquainted with these passionate, motivated individuals.
Existing work continues to create positive attention from working groups with which BR staff have been active for months or years, resulting in new relationships, research opportunities in restoration, and project opportunities:
- Watershed restoration for control of E. Coli in major rivers in AZ, partnering with AZDEQ and AZGFD
- Research on effectiveness of water-retention ponds and water detention structures, funded by the Walton Foundation and other partners
- Strategy and curriculum development for the new Borderlands Restoration Leadership Institute
- Partnership with Waterock L3C on the work of the Hopi Raincatchers
- Presentations on restoration economics to multiple agency partners across the southwest
- Multiple contracts for restoration work in the Patagonia, AZ area, providing local employment opportunities and building resilient landscapes
The Borderlands Restoration Leadership Institute: Support from the Biophilia foundation has furthered opportunities here as well as with the formation of the Borderlands Restoration Leadership Institute, a learning center focused on arid lands restoration in cross-border, cultural and ecological contexts, slated for accepting its first students in the summer of 2017. The visioning and development process have been supported by the talented facilitation of Joshua Cubista and we’ve had active participation from Deep Dirt Farm Institute, Borderlands Restoration, Borderlands Habitat Network, Wildlife Corridors, Cuenca Los Ojos, Friends of Sonoita Creek, Almunia de Los Zopilotes, and other individuals and groups on both sides of the border.
Hopi Raincatchers: Our partner organization Waterrock L3C was recently named one of the 100 Projects for the Climate, the only activity in the U.S. to receive the distinction! BR has been instrumental in training the Raincatchers in restoring tribal lands, and recently led a workshop that brought Hopi and Navajo youth together to practice restoration on a shared landscape. Waterrock and BR presented the work and techniques to the Hopi Tribal Council for approval and further support of the efforts across reservation boundaries, and always with culturally appropriate methods and approaches foremost in our minds.
Finally, it would be impossible to overemphasize the value of the hard work taken on by our partnering organizations and individuals that include Borderlands Habitat Network, Deep Dirt Farm Institute, Patagonia Union High School, Patagonia Museum, Windsong Peace and Leadership Center, and many others who refuse to be daunted by the inherent challenges of creative, progressive efforts like ours—not easy, but Good.
Executive Director, Borderlands Restoration L3C